World-renowned artist Justine finds herself back at her family home, Seaview Cottage, in East Yorkshire, when her mother dies. As she comes to term with her mother's death, Justine questions her own mortality and finds herself haunted by the secrets of her past. Until then Justine's outlet has been her art, where she channels her pain and loss to produce stunning pieces. Justine is interviewed by journalist Rose Haldane. As the two connect, Justine reveals that she had a child 27 years ago who she gave away due to circumstances beyond her control.
It's a subject close to Rose's heart and she has often sought to reconnect those family members affected by adoption. As Rose begins to search for Justine's lost daughter, she finds Justine is not revealing all to her. But secrets have a way of coming out and Justine needs to make peace with her past if she is to reclaim her happiness and reconnect with her daughter.
This was a dark tale which explored a myriad of subjects: namely love, loss, the thrill of first love, the tenuous relationships between parents and children and adoption. The writing was very descriptive and beautifully layered: there was so much to this story.
Justine is a lost character, who is reeling from the consequences of her decisions in her youth. The author uses the narrative to switch from the past to the present so that the reader learns of the events which led to Justine giving up her child. As a protagonist, Justine really endears herself to the reader. She is such a fragile person and has endured so much, so you really find yourself rooting for her: for her redemption and happiness. A deeply engaging, intelligently written tale with much food for thought, this story will long remain with me. (LP)
When Rose Haldane finds out she is adopted, she realises that there are two things she could do. Succumb to self pity and despair or fight to find her identity. Being the feisty journalist that she is, Rose decides on the latter course of action and there begins a tale that will hold you in its spell right through. The author explores the complexity of several relationships as she delves into the family secrets of Rose and her sister, Lily. But where does one begin to find out what happened several decades ago in your family? The task is daunting but Rose refuses to give up. Soon she finds diaries full of secrets, long-forgotten friends who come up with clues and events that propel her to the truth. But this is no maudlin unravelling of long-buried stories as the protagonist of the novel begins her investigations.
The book is fast paced and has twists enough to keep you turning the pages until the end. Toss in some romance with the arrival of Nick Maddox and the story just gets spicier. Does Rose find her birth mother? Will she find her happily ever after with Nick? How will this family drama play out? If you want the answers to these questions, and if you are keen on stories on adoption, don't miss this beautifully written book by Sandra Danby. It's high drama and suspense all the way. (AC)